Facebook research has shed fascinating new light on consumer online shopping habits, as well as providing insight into several key types of consumer. Researchers at Facebook IQ, the research unit owned by Facebook, have planned a three-part investigation, of which only the first part has been completed and involved approximately 1.6 million Facebook users. The research was carried out using an algorithm which measured activity around Facebook ads on the fashion, footwear and accessories sectors across monobrand advertisers. From the first part of the research, Facebook IQ have profiled six segments into which the sector's shoppers can be largely categorized.

The first segment is entitled Shopping Mavens, and are categorized by a high level of personal identification with their favourite brands. This segment is, on average, higher spenders than most other sectors, and take time considering purchases - despite a high level of enjoyment of the shopping process.

The second segment is Informed Mobilizers. This group typically favour comparison shopping, price competitiveness and read reviews in detail. In contrast to this caution, the Informed Mobilizer group typically visit an e-commerce site significantly fewer times than Shopping Mavens before making their first purchase.

Fashion Enthusiasts are, on average, the youngest segment, who are typically very brand loyal and aware of brand reputations. This group has a high focus on trends and are highly swayed by purchase influencers - be it a celebrity or a family member. This segment has a high use of Instagram.

A slightly older group - the Social Savvies are frequent e-commerce shoppers, and speed and ease of use are key factors in their shopping process. This group is the second largest parental group, typically uses mobile devices over desktop and are both price-conscious and easily overwhelmed by a large array of choices.

Opportunistic Shoppers are the most price-sensitive group and generally are the oldest - often with children. Shopping is a necessity not a luxury for this group, and they are frequent users of coupons or deals.

The final category is Online Reluctants, who are the least brand loyal of the group. This segment does not enjoy online shopping - they prefer bricks and mortar stores as they are very concerned with quality. Interestingly, this segment has a heavier gender skew than the other segments - with a strong male majority.

This information might seem complicated when considering e-commerce sites and digital marketing, but it underlines the importance brands must put on digital optimisation, as well as customer understanding.